Sue Smith OBE, Executive Chief Nurse and Deputy Chief Executive, has announced that she will retire in October 2021, after 34 years in the NHS and nearly eight years at UHMBT.
Sue started her career here in the Trust as a Nursing Auxiliary in 1987, before becoming a student nurse and then a Registered General Nurse at the RLI in 1993. Sue left the Trust in 2003 to develop her career and re-joined as our Executive Chief Nurse in December 2013. She is also Chair of Transform Healthcare Cambodia and a trustee at St John's Hospice.
Sue, said: “Whilst this decision makes me incredibly sad as I care deeply about UHMBT and the great teams I work with at every level, the time is right for me consider my work life balance.
“I have enjoyed my years with the Trust and my career in the NHS, and will miss the amazing UHMBT teams from ward to board. There is never a good time to step aside when you care as passionately about patients, staff and an organisation as I do about UHMBT. However, over the last three years, I have worked through some health issues, such as treatment for breast cancer and ablation of my heart, and I am currently waiting for another big operation. It is now time for me to reduce my hours and the levels of pressure associated with such a high-profile and pressured role.
“I also believe that it is time to hand over to someone with different eyes and skillsets; someone who can build on the great improvements I believe we have delivered in partnership with our patients and frontline teams over the last few years and who can provide renewed energy and help to move us forward.
“I have had the pleasure of working with some dedicated and professional teams during my NHS career and I am so happy to have ended my career in this organisation, representing our front-line teams and the patient and family voice at Board level.
“I want to take this opportunity to thank all my colleagues at UHMBT - whatever your role. I know that UHMBT will continue to listen to patients and colleagues and that it will go from strength to strength - building on the changes that I have had the privilege of contributing to with this Board.”
Sue has been a great friend and colleague to me and the rest of the Executive team. Throughout her personal health issues, she has remained steadfast in her work to improve standards of care for all our patients.
She has been relentless in her support of her clinical colleagues and will retire not just a successful executive leader, but as a compassionate and kind nurse always wanting the best for our patients and communities.
Sue’s achievements are too long to list, but they include overseeing the creation of the new South Lakes Birth Centre, the rejuvenation of apprentice nurse scheme at the Trust - creating local careers for local people - and working closely with bereaved families to involve them in improvements and changes at the Trust. Sue has also worked hard to welcome around 800 new community colleagues. As the icing on the cake, Sue will be leaving the Trust with a record low nurse vacancy rate of just 2.2%.
These are mighty impressive shoes to fill, but the search will now commence to find a new Executive Chief Nurse to continue Sue’s work and to take us to even greater places on our journey to create a great place to be cared for and a great place to work.
Colin Ranshaw, Head Governor, said: “We look forward to seeing Sue enjoy her retirement and spending quality time with her family. Sue has personally supported me as Head Governor and has engaged and supported the Council of Governors effectively - always putting the patient first with compassion and passion. On behalf of the Council of Governors, I extend our sincere and heartfelt thanks to Sue for her tireless commitment to improving standards of care for patients and local people. Enjoy your retirement Sue; you’ve earned it.”
On behalf of the Trust Board, I’d like to formally thank Sue for all of her hard work and dedication over the last eight years. She will be sorely missed by us all but there is no doubt that this next chapter is very much deserved. We wish her and her family all the best for the future.
Aaron Cummins, Chief Executive